Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fermi Large Area Telescope reveals pulsing gamma-ray sources

11.09.2009
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Space Science Division and a team of international researchers have positively identified cosmic sources of gamma-ray emissions through the discovery of 16 pulsating neutron stars.

Using the Large Area Telescope (LAT), the primary instrument on NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope satellite, the discoveries were made by conducting blind frequency searches on the sparse photon data provided by the LAT. The photons had energies between 20 Mega-electron-volts (MeVs) and 300 Giga-electron-volts (GeVs)— tens of millions to hundreds of billions of times more energetic than the photons we see with the human eye.

A second study, published at the same time, announced the detection of gamma-ray pulsations from eight Galactic millisecond pulsars (MSPs). Millisecond pulsars spin hundreds of times per second, but have magnetic fields 10,000 times lower than normal pulsars. These discoveries confirm that they, too, can produce powerful gamma-ray emissions.

"Fermi has truly unprecedented power for discovering and studying gamma ray pulsars," said Paul Ray astrophysicist, Naval Research Laboratory. "Since the demise of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory a decade ago, we've wondered about the nature of unidentified gamma-ray sources it detected in our galaxy. These studies from Fermi lift the veil on many of them."

Pulsars are rapidly rotating, highly magnetized neutron stars that can emit radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum. Prior to the launch of Fermi, gamma-ray pulsations were only detected from pulsars previously discovered using radio or X-ray telescopes. Radio telescopes can detect pulsars only if one of the narrow radio beams is directly aimed at the telescope; otherwise the pulsar can remain hidden. The much broader gamma-ray beams allowed the new pulsars to be discovered as part of a comprehensive search for periodic gamma-ray emission using five months of Fermi LAT data and new computational techniques.

The newly discovered pulsars, with rotation periods that range from 48 to 444 milliseconds, help reveal the geometry of emission from rotation-powered pulsars and provide valuable information on population statistics, the energetics of pulsar wind nebulae and supernova remnants. A wide variety of astrophysical phenomena, such as pulsars, active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts and some binary star systems are known to produce photons exceeding many MeVs.

"The Fermi LAT makes it possible for us to pinpoint neutron stars," said Eric Grove, astrophysicist and LAT Commissioner, NRL Space Science Division. "The combination of a very large collecting area, large field of view, and precision timing from an on-board Global Positioning System receiver enables the LAT to see sources that were far beyond the reach of previous gamma-ray telescopes."

Results of the two studies: "Detection of 16 gamma-ray pulsars through blind frequency searches using the Fermi LAT;" and "A population of gamma-ray millisecond pulsars seen with the Fermi Large Area Telescope" were published on July 2, 2009 in Science Express and may be found on the Internet at http://www.scienceexpress.org.

The LAT project is funded in the United States by NASA and developed in collaboration with the Department of Energy and by academic institutions and government agencies in France, Italy, Japan, and Sweden.

The Naval Research Laboratory is the Department of the Navy's corporate laboratory. NRL conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology, and advanced development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, DC, with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, MS; and Monterey, CA

Daniel Parry | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nrl.navy.mil

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
20.01.2017 | San Francisco State University

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>